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Italian Cheesecake Dip

July 10, 2011

Photo by Gerik

Planning a family reunion is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I’ve heard others talk about hosting their family reunions but obviously I didn’t pay much attention until it was my turn.

Making my family party memorable was my biggest goal.  The other family members live in such tourist friendly places like Seattle, WA and Austin, TX.  I was nervous wondering how I would keep people entertained. Columbia and the surrounding area has a lot to offer but as a still fairly new resident myself, I’m still discovering all the fun places to go. So as I planned, I made lists and lists and more lists. And I made sure that no matter what people found to do – there would always be food when everyone came back to the house for a break from the heat.

One thing my family does well is eat so I kept this in mind as I carefully planned the menu. One of the trade secrets of a successful caterer is planning ahead. When picking things for the weekend menu, I choose things that could be sliced, diced, measured and safely stored in ziplock bags for quick cooking.   It’s the only way to cook for a large crowd in my little doll-like kitchen.

One recipe I choose was the Italian Cheesecake Dip. I picked it because I thought it was a perfect 4th of July recipe, complete with fireworks on top.  Most people think of cheesecake as something sweet, but this one is savory and delicious.  This dip is not baked but layered with crushed Cheez-its which firms the cheesecake so that it can be served like a cake.  And it’s the sweet red pepper garnish on top that provides the fireworks theme, so to me, it was the perfect choice.

I serve the cheesecake with crackers and relishes and presentation wise, it was stunning and appealing to the nibblers in my family.

Chelle, my daughter, features the cheesecake in our family cookbook “Not Fit to Eat”.  The book is a memento of our family time together.  It features the foods we served and snaps of our fun occasion.  What a fun way to keep the memories and pictures together in one spot.

Please take a peek if you wish and if you find the recipes interesting, we don’t mind sharing our book with you.

View Not Fit to Eat here.

Italian Cheesecake Dip
15 servings

Photo by Chelle

Crust:
2 ⅓ cups Cheez-it crackers
4 ½ T butter

Crush the crackers finely.  Melt the butter and add to the cracker crumbs and mix well.  Press 1/3rd of the crumbs into the bottom of a removable bottom cheesecake pan.  Press well.  Reserve the rest of the crumbs for the cheesecake assembly.

Filling:
24 oz. sour cream
4 ½ oz cream cheese
⅓ cup fresh red pepper, diced finely
⅓ cup fresh green pepper, diced finely
3 tsp. dry Italian Dressing Mix by Good Seasons
1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Soften the cream cheese and stir in the sour cream.  Fold in the rest of the ingredients.  Pour half the filling into the crumb lined cheesecake pan and spread smooth.  Top with half of the reserved crumbs and lightly press into place.  Pour remaining filling over the top, smooth and sprinkle the top with the remaining crumbs.  Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.

To serve:  Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan.  Push from the bottom to removed the cheesecake. Place on a pretty serving platter, garnish and serve.

Photo by Gerik

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2011 12:18 am

    This is so inventive and cool! Great idea.

  2. Chelle permalink*
    July 11, 2011 1:01 am

    I think I can still taste this. ❤

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